Despite the surge in popularity around rich media content such as video and social media advertising — blogging remains an essential part of the marketing mix in 2020.
And a blog planner template helps to bring order to the process.
Firstly, businesses who blog get 67% more leads than businesses that don’t, according to a HubSpot survey of 3,400 professional marketers.
Secondly, websites with blogs have 434% more pages indexed on Google according to Tech Client.
WordPress, the business that started it all, provides configurable blog modules with a one-click instal.
And well-known SaaS providers like GoDaddy, Wix, and Squarespace also provide a simple way to get blogging with websites you pay for with a low monthly fee.
Yet will all the best intentions — small businesses (and even some larger ones) — find it challenging to plan, manage and publish articles consistently.
Before long, organising blog content turns into a stressful experience with disparate documents on local machines — often buried in lengthy email threads.
The people who need to provide input (sales staff, marketing personnel, even copywriters) soon get bogged down trying to figure out what the hell should be done by who, and when.
I know this because I spend 50% of my time as a freelance copywriter writing blog articles for start-ups, solopreneurs, and SMEs.
The key to successful blogging (publishing well-written, no-fluff, thought-provoking articles) is planning.
Often, businesses approach article-writing in silos: by the piece; by the week or by the month.
But . . .
Moreover, inconsistent planning means jumping from one business task to another (multitasking) — every time you need to write a blog post.
And according to inc.com, multitasking comes at a price:
How a blog planner helps you work more efficiently
Plenty of blog calendars and content management templates exist. Some are available as free downloads, others you access as part of a paid subscription to sites like template.net.
Yet I’ve never found any of these resources useful. Not unless you have a well-drilled team working on a detailed marketing plan with a content strategy. And tasks that include persona creation, in-depth SEO, funnel marketing and multivariate testing.
For most SMEs, all you need to get productivity and stress-levels under control is a simple dashboard that gives you
● a list of article titles;● an objective for each one;● a primary status so you know where you are;● a link to a corresponding article brief and working document; and● a one-page view of all the information.
I’m so convinced this approach saves countless hours of downtime, nail-biting and hair-pulling — I thought I’d make the template I use available for FREE.
The template is ready to use, straight from the box. None of the functionality is locked, so you can add new columns if you wish, or edit the existing jump-list values using data validation.
But before you jump in and hit the download button, pay attention to the data in the three most critical columns:
This is your article reference. I’ve added numbers from 1-52 to give you the incentive to write an article a week. However, you might not need this many.
TIP: Always keep the numbers in sequence, and when you create articles, prefix file name with the corresponding number to make referencing easy.
The human brain is wired for order, and if you re-sort the list, you’ll be amazed at the impact this simple principle will have when you revisit the template.
Eye-tracking experts working in user experience refer to this as an increase in cognitive load caused by disparate eye fixations.
In practice, it means stress!
Contrary to popular belief, it’s not logical to add a finished title (headline) in a planner. Deal with proper titles in a corresponding article working doc.
Copywriters often invest an hour or two crafting headline titles using a range of proven formulas — and often deliver more than one example for consideration.
It makes no sense to spend time finishing a headline before you’ve populated the planner with a few ideas.
Speed is the key to completing your dashboard effectively. So avoid doing anything that gets in the way of filling out this document quickly.
Write a high-level objective to flesh out specific points of interest that the writer needs to communicate. Deal with the detail in a corresponding briefing document.
TIP: Often, what you want to talk about and what the reader needs to know are different things.
Remember, the objective is to demonstrate knowledge and authority about a subject the reader finds valuable — not to use the article as a fluff piece to pitch your product or service.
Understand your audience and keep it relevant.
There you have it — the simplest, fastest-to-use blog planning template you’re likely to find anywhere on the internet.
If you have any issues downloading the file or need advice on how to extend the template further, DROP ME A LINE HERE.